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I have dozens of immaculately clean and well-designed bedrooms saved on Instagram. But despite my best efforts, I still can’t seem to get my space to look quite like them. 

I invested in gorgeous linen bedding, an attractive rug, and a quality dresser. And the other day, five months after my renovation, I managed to wallpaper my closet. But there’s no mirror, no permanent blinds, and no art on walls. In other words, it’s missing that certain something that would otherwise make me do a double tap. 

In an effort to hone my skills, I decided to go to a trusted source. I asked Emily Hendersonstylist, designer, and a New York Times best-selling author—to share her five best tips for arranging and decorating the perfect bedroom. Give her advice a try, and you’ll also have the tools to create a camera-ready aesthetic in real life. 

Pay Attention to Scale

“Scale is my number one—it’s really my number one for every room,” Henderson says. “You want the room to feel balanced, and that starts with furniture scale.” Since every bedroom is a different size, it’s important to keep essential furnishings from either feeling too cramped or too large. So, don’t get a king-size bed and pair it with a puny nightstand, and don’t cram an oversized dresser next to a slim mattress. Instead, work toward a harmony. 

Step Away From the Wall

If your space allows it, “float” your bed away from the walls, even if it’s just an inch or two. “Your room will feel lighter if you can avoid it,” Henderson notes. “Plus, it’s way easier to make your bed.” The one exception is in a little kids’ room, where having the bed against the wall can be good for safety reasons. 

Go Ahead and Add a TV

Henderson thinks that putting too much stuff in a bedroom can make the space look way too crowded, but she never minds adding a television. “We don’t have a TV anywhere else in the house, just a projector for movies, so it is so nice to be able to watch a show on our own time,” she says. To make her own TV feel a little more at home on the wall, Henderson invested in “The Frame,” a low-profile smart TV that displays your favorite artwork when not in use. 

Let the Light Shine In

“Try to avoid blocking windows or choose a low headboard if you can’t avoid it,” Henderson suggests. Natural light is your friend—it not only makes the room look better, but it also helps regulate your internal clock. Do your best not to block it, but go ahead and splurge on those blackout curtains if you need a dark room to get any shut-eye. 

Fill Extra Space

You don’t want to cram furniture in, but you don’t want big, open areas either. If you have the additional space, create zones like a reading nook. “If possible, I love a chair or two by a window,” Henderson says. Just make sure your seating area feels distinctly separate from your bed area by allowing for enough room between the two. “If you don’t have a ton of space, you could always try a bench at the end of your bed.”

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